LONDON: England collapsed in bright sunshine at a hushed Lord´s on Saturday as Pakistan closed in on a famous victory in the first test inside three days.
Trailing by 179 runs on first innings, Joe Root made a battling 68 before England slumped to 111 for six at tea, 68 behind the touring side and facing a humiliating first loss in a May test at the home of cricket.
Alastair Cook, who top-scored with 70 on Thursday, was trapped lbw by Mohammad Abbas for one and Mark Stoneman, under severe pressure for his place, made a scratchy nine before he was bowled by leg-spinner Shadab Khan with a ball that kept low and England limped to lunch at 37 for two.
Root batted patiently, content to defend and take advantage of the rare loose balls served up by a disciplined Pakistan attack.
He reached his 50 before Mohammad Amir took centre stage with two wickets in one over.
Pakistan´s left-arm seamer found the edge of Dawid Malan´s bat to dismiss him for 12 and two balls later Amir produced a brilliant inswinging delivery to bowl Jonny Bairstow and leave England in trouble at 91 for four.
Ben Stokes clipped his first ball through square leg for four and followed up with another crisp boundary but, on nine, he tried to clip Shadab through the leg-side and was well caught by the substitute fielder at short mid-wicket.
The packed crowd was stunned as Jos Buttler walked out to the middle and Root was next to go, snared lbw by Abbas and failing to get the decision overturned on review.
It was the 10th time in a row that Root has failed to convert a test fifty into a century and his dismissal ended England´s realistic hopes of winning the match.
Buttler survived to the interval on two not out with 20-year-old Dom Bess, making his debut, on nought, and England face a tough task even to take the match into a fourth day.
Pakistan was dismissed for 363 in reply to England’s first innings of 184.
The visiting side’s team management announced after Friday´s close that middle order batsman Babar Azam had suffered a fractured forearm after being struck just above the wrist by a delivery from England pace-bowling all-rounder Ben Stokes.
The injury is set to sideline Babar for at least six weeks, meaning he had been ruled out of the second and final Test of the England series that starts at Headingley on Friday, June 1.
And when No 11 Mohammad Abbas was caught behind off Mark Wood for five at Lord´s on Saturday, Babar did not come out to bat again.
Mohammad Amir was 24 not out, having hit four fours including a stylish lofted on-drive off Stuart Broad.
Four Pakistan batsmen made fifties, with Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq and Shadab Khan joining Babar in reaching the landmark.
Pakistan have only ever lost one Test in which they have led on first innings by at least 179 runs, against Australia at Sydney in 2009/10 when they established a 206-run advantage at that stage only to suffer a 36-run defeat.
Azhar Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Haris Sohail. Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed (captain/wicketkeeper), Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Abbas.
Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman, Dawid Malan, Joe Root (captain), Jonny Bairstow (wicketkeeper), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Dom Bess.